History of Butler County Pennsylvania, 1883-37

History of Butler County Pennsylvania - 1883

Chapter 37 -- Muddy Creek Township

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Transcribed by Ed Book. For an explanation and caution about this transcription, please read this page.



Illustrations And Biographies In Chapter XXXVII

p.348a-- James & Mrs. McClymonds
p.348a-- James McClymonds Bio



[p. 345]

Previous to the year 1854, this township embraced all of what is now Franklin [1], together with portions of Connoquenessing and Worth. But from time [p.346] to time in the past two decades, it has been reduced in size, until it is now as the others, approximately five miles square. Its form is almost a square, the irregularity being its northern boundary or Muddy Creek, from which creek the township takes its name. The surface of Muddy Creek Township is very uneven; some portions of it are even diversified by high hills. In the eastern part, however, it is level and is very appropriately called Pleasant Valley. The mineral resources of this township are abundant, although agriculture is the principal pursuit of its inhabitants. In almost every part, and especially in the western and northern regions, coal is found in considerable quantities and of excellent quality. There are about twenty-five coal banks in the township, all of which furnish abundance of coal for local use. A good quality of limestone and iron ore is also sound. [sic (found)] The people of Muddy Creek Township are hospitable, intelligent and progressive. Improvements of various kinds are generally excellent. Farmers of this part of the county, as well as those in other parts, point with a just pride to their well cultivated broad acres, substantial and even elegant houses, and to their improved live stock. All these desireable changes and improvements come not of themselves, but are the legitimate result of scrupulous care and intelligent and unwearying industry. The herculean labors of those who were the heralds of civilization are being enjoyed by the present generation. To them we are indebted primarily for the removal of the forests and the luxuries of a cultivated soil, and the later tasks of the active throng united with theirs have transformed the once barren wilderness into fertile and prolific fields.

Robert STEWART came from Westmoreland County and settled in 1796 at what is now Portersville on a tract of land of four hundred and fourteen acres, being part of what was denominated the eight tracts which had not been surveyed, and which was known as "depreciation land." When Mr. STEWART located on this land, there was no human being living within fifteen miles, nor a building, except a little log cabin, which he found on the territory upon which he settled. This cabin belonged to a negro who called himself CAESAR, and who declared that he had lived there two years, obtaining his living by hunting and fishing. Mr. STEWART, of course, was surprised to find this dusky being there in solitude, and doubly surprised when he claimed the land which he resided upon and evinced a thorough knowledge of a settler's right. Mr. STEWART bought out CAESAR's right of settlement for a paltry sum, and the sable individual took his departure without explaining anything with reference to his antecedents or his intentions. Shortly after Robert STEWART's settlement, a Mr. Thomas BRANDON came to the same part of the country looking for an eligible place for himself and family. To him Mr. STEWART offered 100 acres if he would bring his family and settle there.

It need scarcely be observed that Mr. BRANDON accepted the offer, and he and his family removed there a few weeks later, thus becoming very early settlers of Muddy Creek Township. Mr. STEWART was born in Westmoreland County, near the Youghiogheny River, in 1771. In 1800, he married Miss Margaret CHRISTY.

Shortly after his permanent location, Mr. STEWART built a large log house, where the BURNSIDE Hotel now stands. It was of hewn logs and stone foundation. The mantel-piece and stones of the building may yet be seen, although many years have elapsed since it was torn down. Elizabeth was their first born. She afterward became Mrs. John TEBAY. She died in 1842. The first few years Mr. STEWART raised corn and potatoes only. The corn he packed to Beaver, receiving salt in return, generally getting one bushel for ten of corn. At that early period, corn was in greater demand than most all other productions of the farm except wheat. Potatoes were taken to Pittsburgh and exchanged for provisions, such as coffee, rice, tea, sugar, etc. The nearest mill was at Harlansburg, and thither would Mr. STEWART repair with his grain and have it converted into flour.

It has been mentioned that Elizabeth was born in 1801; the remaining members of the family were Margaret, afterward Mrs. David FISHER; Sarah, who married John LEVIS; Martha, who became the wife of John FITHIAN; John C.; Robert; Samuel, died at Beaver Falls, July, 1882; Thomas, Jane, Joseph M., Alexander, Joseph and Newton. Of this family, Martha FITHIAN and Thomas, in Iowa, and Robert, of Portersville, still survive. The father of these children died in 1851. Robert STEWART, son of Robert STEWART, deceased, married Jane GARDNER in 1830.

Thomas HUMPHREY was a native of Ireland, county of Tyrone. He settled in this township in 1798. Previously to locating here, however, he made his home in Greensburg, or near that place, for several years, remaining among friends who emigrated to America from the North of Ireland. While in Greensburg, he met Miss Ruth COULTER, whom he married. They removed to this township to find for themselves a desirable home. There was not at that time very much, indeed, to attract a young married couple to the then unexplored and immense wilderness, in whose forest recesses the invading foot of the white settler was almost unknown. Yet they assumed life's stern duties with strong hands and light hearts, fortified with the thought that industry is the [p.347] handmaid of success, and that perseverance will ultimately bring its reward, though it might be long deferred. They lived happily and prosperously together for many years, finding comfort and consolation in each other's society, and pleasure and gratification in providing for themselves and the growing wants of their family. A sad bereavement happened to the family, however, in 1839, when the husband and father was called away by death. The members of the family were Jane, now widow of Thomas EMORY, living with her son in Franklin, Penn.; James, who went to the Southwest in 1841 or 1842, and is now supposed to be dead (he was a carpenter by occupation, and worked for some time on the State house in Texas, shortly after it was admitted into the Union); William, who died in 1864, aged sixty-three; he was the father of William HUMPHREY, Esq., who now resides at Portersville, and in [sic (is)] engaged in the mercantile business. Besides him, there were five other brothers and three sisters, viz.: Angeline, now Mrs. RUTTER, living near Newcastle.; James; Mary Jane, now Mrs. David BENNET, living in Venango County, near Wesleyville; John; William; George W., living in Texas; David and Thomas, both deceased. In early life, William followed the profession of teaching. Abandoning this business after pursuing it for fourteen years, he embarked in the mercantile business in 1868, with James NEWTON. At the end of four years, he sold out to S. H. BAILEY. Five years later, he entered into partnership with Peter SCHEIDEMANTLE, keeping a general store in a room one door south of the present building, which was erected in 1876.

David KENNEDY came from Philadelphia soon after 1800, and settled along Yellow Creek. His son David soon after settled on a farm in the northwestern portion of the township and built a saw-mill, grist-mill, and fulling-mill thereon, and operated them until 1840, as near as can be ascertained from other chronological facts. This was considered quite an enterprise at that time, and persons came to these mills from near and far.

John MYERS and family came from Virginia previous to 1800, and settled in this township. The descendents of this family are still numerous in the neighborhood. The children of John MYERS, Sr., were Solomon, John, Anna (BEIGHLE), Samuel, George, David and Daniel. John, a son of Solomon, is an old resident of Lancaster Township, where he has resided fifty-three years, and others of the grandchildren of the first John MYERS are now aged people. The family is of German descent.

It was the custom in those early days for the women to spin and weave their wool, and take it to the fulling mill where it was fulled, dyed and dressed preparatory to be manufactured into clothing for the men, which was also done by the industrious women of that time. These mills were operated by water power, the dam to which caused a large amount of land to be inundated, and after a time, as land became more valuable, property owners objected to the flooding of their land, and after some litigation Mr. KENNEDY was compelled to tear down his dam, and, steam-power not then being in vogue, the mills were necessarily abandoned; the necessity for them have in a measure passed away.

But few now living in the township remember that such mills ever existed, and played such an important part in the early settlement and development of the township and surrounding country.

Joseph WHITE was another Westmoreland man, who pitched his tent within the boundaries of the township as early as 1809. He purchased a tract of land of 200 acres from one Mrs. ELLIOTT. Very little of it was cleared, and as a necessary consequence, much labor had to be expended upon it before it was suitable for cultivation. Joseph WHITE married Sarah CRATTY, of this township. Their son Charles lives upon the old farm.

During the rebellion in Ireland, which took place about 1798, Matthew MCCULLOUGH emigrated from the land of the Shamrock to American soil. He located first in Cumberland County; remaining there five years, he removed to this township, which was then very extensive, about the year 1803. He was a stonemason by trade, having learned the business in Cumberland County. He pursued the occupation as journeyman for two years previous to his coming to this township, and after settling here he followed it industriously for many years in connection with farming. He assisted in building the old jail in Butler, working for John NEGLEY, who was the contractor.

The family of Mr. MCCULLOUGH consisted of eight children - seven boys and one girl. Thomas, the third son, is living on a farm purchased from Robert CRAIG. He married Eleanor A. MCCULLOUGH, from Beaver County, in 1837. After purchasing his farm, Mr. MCCULLOUGH was somewhat distressed as to how he should pay for it, as money in those days was very scarce. He worked industriously, however, for ten years, at bricklaying and masonry during the summer, and in winter at shoe-making, and by perseverance and economy he was able to say in a year or so that he owned his farm absolutely. Mr. MCCULLOUGH had a great deal of mechanical genius, and found it not a difficult matter to work at various trades. He was a carpenter, as well as bricklayer and mason, and, in 1836, when the public school system came into operation , he built the first schoolhouse in the township, and it may be said with credit to him that he not only [p.348] erected schoolhouses, but was an ardent friend of education. He had a family of fifteen children, eleven of whom still live. The oldest child, Benjamin, was killed by being struck by the main belt of a saw-mill, in this township, in 1880; Martha, married Joseph ALLEN; Matthew, married Maggie TEBAY; Ellie, is now Mrs. W. H. GALLAHER; Louisa, is the wife of H.H. GALLAHER, lately Register and Recorder of this county; Mary, married R.A. KISKADDEN and is living in Freeport, Penn.; James P., resides in Newcastle; Lizzie, Maggie, William, Fellicia and Thomas are at home.

Joseph TEBAY settled in this township in 1819; he was a native of England, and emigrated to this country with his father, mother and three brothers. They purchased a tract of land which originally was owned by one John HAINES, granted to him by the United States in 1798 for services rendered in the American Army during the Revolutionary war. This farm consisted of one hundred acres, and lay in the northwestern part of the township; his brothers, William, Isaac and Robert, also purchased farms in this township and lived upon them until they were old men. In 1829, Mr. Joseph TEBAY married Jane C. MCKEE, and the result of this union was seven children, six of whom are yet living -- Joseph TEBAY died in 1877; William D., is residing on the old homestead where the State Militia Company used to assemble the first Monday in May every year, until the militia law was repealed. The remaining members of the family are Catherine, Matilda, Eliza, Margaret and James H. TEBAY. William married Margaret MCGOWAN, a very estimable lady, in 1873; Catharine is now Mrs. John DOUTHETT, and in 1856 removed to California, where he died in 1864; Matilda married James JONES and is living in Mercer, Penn.; Eliza, now Mrs. Henry A. BLACK, lives with her husband in Page County, Iowa; Margaret, now Mrs. J. MCCULLOUGH, lives in the township; James H., who was Prothonotary of the county in 1875, married Annie MCCULLOUGH and lives in Butler, Penn.

The first wagon used in the township was brought by the TEBAY family from over the mountains; it was hauled around among the inhabitants far and near to be seen and admired.

Thomas GARVIN came to Muddy Creek Township from Westmoreland in the year 1822; his father was killed by the Indians in 1795. The circumstances were as follows: He was carrying provisions from what is now Allegheny County to his family who were at the block-house near Greensburg. While driving his team quietly along about half way between his starting point and his destination, several of the savages rushed out of a clump of bushes where they had been lying in ambush, and shot him down without a moment's warning. Having no home after his father's sad death, he went to Allegheny County, where he worked for some time as a ship carpenter near Pittsburgh. He purchased his farm in this township from Jacob PHILIPS. In 1818, he married Nancy PHILIPS, a daughter of the above-mentioned gentleman. Eight children were born to them, but only four of the family are living to-day -- three in various parts of this county, and one in Ohio. Thomas GARVIN resides one mile west of Prospect on a farm purchased from the heirs of Margaret FERGUSON, widow of Hugh FERGUSON. Mr. GARVIN has four daughters married -- Agnes is now Mrs. James FORRESTER; Minerva is Mrs. George BEIGHLEY; Lovina is the wife of J. C. FISHER; Dorcas married Lewis BOLTON; Emma and Mary reside at home with their parents.

James MCCLYMONDS and family, consisting of his wife and nine children, removed to this township from Allegheny County in 1831. They purchased a farm of 400 acres from John PEARSON, of Mercer. They brought with them some sheep and milch cows. Their first work was to erect a dwelling house fit for habitation as there was only a small hut on the farm, insufficient for the family in every respect. A double log barn stood on the place answering their needs for the first year.

Thus being partially equipped, as well as possible under the circumstances, they entered upon the stern and urgent duties of their present life in earnest, firmly determined to, erelong, transform the ungainly-looking place to a cheerful and attractive home. They took their grain to be ground into flour to CARUTHER's mill on Slippery Rock Creek, carrying it there on pack saddles, according to the usual custom of that day. Shortly after, a mill was erected on Muddy Creek by David KENNEDY; this was much more convenient, but it was operated only a short time when the dam gave way and the mill was abandoned. They were then compelled to return to Slippery Rock, where they went regularly until a mill was built on the site where MCCONNELL's mill now stands, just one half mile over the Butler County line. The fall prior to his locating here, Mr. MCCLYMONDS came out and planted fruit trees on the farm, many of which are still standing, possessing all their usual vitality, and bearing fruit.

[p.348a sketches and biography of Mr. and Mrs. James MCCLYMONDS]

The first death which occurred in this family was that of their son, Joseph, which occurred in 1833. John is living on a farm in the northeastern portion of the township. His wife was Martha GLENN. In 1844, he removed to Worth, where he engaged in the mercantile business. His store was known as a [p.349] branch of William S. BOYD's store in Butler. James married Lydia VANCE in 1843, and established himself on a farm of eighty-seven and a half acres, given to him by his father. In the fall of 1845, he purchased his brother John's interest in the homestead of eighty-seven and a half acres, and also his brother William's of 106 acres. Mr. John MCCLYMONDS has ten living children grown to manhood and womanhood. Mrs. Maria GLENN, living in Portersville, is the oldest of the family. James, who is the second, lives on part of his father's farm. Milton is a teacher. William J. is living in Almeda County, Cal. Both he and his wife are there engaged in teaching. Samuel E. is practicing medicine in Portersville. He married Annie E. GLENN. Willis is the next in order of birth. Horace is reading medicine with Dr. A. G. THOMAS, of Freeport. Maggie, now Mrs. WATTERS, lives near Butler. Ira and Addison are living at home on the farm. The grandfather of these children died in 1852, aged sixty-five years; their grandmother, in 1850, also aged sixty-five years.

David CLEELAND was born in this county, and after remaining with his father upon the farm until his twenty-first year, he purchased a farm in this township, and began life for himself in 1833. His father was a native of Ireland. Mr. CLEELAND married Mary M. MCCLYMONDS, sister of John and James MCCLYMONDS, of this township, and of Samuel of Butler. Nine children were born to them, five of whom are living. James enlisted in 1861, under ----, Company D, Eleventh Reserves, Pennsylvania Volunteers, and served three years. Addison was a member of Company C, One Hundredth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. After serving faithfully as a soldier for one year, he died near Falmouth River, Virginia, of pneumonia, induced by exposure while at his post of duty. William J. belonged to Capt. MCCOOMBS' company, of Newcastle. He enlisted for three months, and at the expiration of that time he re-enlisted for a year. Mr. David CLEELAND died in 1859. Thomas J. CLEELAND has charge of the old farm.

William WILLIAMS came from Philadelphia in 1834. The means of travel was by stage. Arriving at Pittsburgh on Saturday night, he took the stagecoach the following day, intending to land at Portersville; but after he had ridden ten or eleven miles, he discovered that he was on the road to Butler, and that he had, by mistake, taken the wrong coach. He arrived in Butler on Sabbath evening and stopped at the BEATTY House. He felt rather disconsolate because his funds were growing noticeably small. Monday morning came, and when he called for his bill he was astonished to find that it was only 62 1/2 cents. Mr. BEATTY had divined his real predicament, and took pleasure in being lenient with him. Mr. WILLIAMS relates this experience with a great deal of zest. He lived in this township, with his brother Jacob, for two years, when he established a cabinet shop in Portersville in 1836, working at his occupation until two years since. At present he has a furniture store, confectionery and tobacco store, which he is capable of superintending.

His wife was Hannah FITHIAN. They were married by Rev. Reid BRACKEN, in 1836. Mr. WILLIAMS has filled several borough offices with entire satisfaction to the people. He was Constable when the murder of TEEPLE and CUNNIGNHAM took place in Portersville, and it was his province to bring the guilty party to justice. Mr. WILLIAMS was School Director for thirteen years; was Justice of the Peace eight years, and was Postmaster eight years.


Mr. James NEWTON came to Portersville in 1842, and settled on a small tract of land purchased form Thomas STEWART. Previous to locating here, he had been engaged in the mercantile business in an adjoining county. In 1845, he and John HALL opened a general store near BRENNEMAN's Hotel, and they did a flourishing trade. Mr. NEWTON was always justly regarded as a Christian gentleman, and a conscientious business man. He recognized as a basis of every pursuit the time-honored maxim that "honesty is the best policy." He held the office of Postmaster for four terms, and was selected by the people to other trusts which he did not accept. Mrs. NEWTON was Mary HALL, sister of John HALL, who was generally known throughout the county. Her husband died July 20, 1882.

John BAUDER resided in Ross Township, Allegheny County, previous to his coming here. In 1852, he located in this township and remained until 1859, when he took a trip to California. He worked in the mines for two years, and then returned to this township and purchased ninety acres of land from his father. Subsequently, additions were made to it until his farm now numbers 140 acres. A fine, large flouring mill is located on the farm, which is operated by Henry and Samuel BAUDER.

William A. GALLAHER was born in Muddy Creek Township, on the farm on which his widow, Mrs. Martha A., now resides. He obtained his farm from his father in 1856, and he diligently adhered to the honorable and independent occupation of tilling the soil and causing it to bring forth its treasures, until the dark days of the rebellion, when he laid aside the implements of toil. While in the army, he contracted typhoid fever, from which he died in 1863. He belonged to Company G, One Hundred and [p.350] Thirty-fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, enlisting in 1862 under Capt. Alfred RIDDLE. He was in the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Mrs. GALLAHER's maiden name was Martha PISOR, born and reared in Worth Township.

In 1857, George BARKLEY, who was a native of Germany, located on a farm known originally as the MCCULLOUGH farm, consisting of 130 acres. The consideration paid by Mr. BARKLEY was $2,700. He farmed on this place until the year 1878, when his death occurred.

James W. MCGEARY, who became a resident of this township in 1865, is a carriage and wagon maker by trade, and before locating here prosecuted his business in Freeport, Brady's Bend, Pittsburgh, New Brighton, and in certain portions of Ohio. Mr. MCGEARY, being a man of intelligence and good judgment, has been called upon frequently to fill the offices of Justice of the Peace, School Director, Supervisor, and Overseer of the Poor.

The BRENNEMAN Hotel was purchased by David BRENNEMAN in 1868, and conducted by him until his death, which occurred in 1880. Before he came to this place to assume the role of landlord, he with his family resided on a 200-acre farm in Lawrence County, which the sons, Sylvester and Alfred, now cultivate.

The BRENNEMAN House was formerly known as the OLIVER House and was purchased from the latter by David BRENNEMAN. In 1874, the house was burned down, and a larger and more commodious one was erected in its place by Mr. BRENNEMAN.

Samuel T. OKESON came from Mercer County. In 1875, he identified himself with the interests of Portersville, establishing himself in the undertaking and furniture industry. The people recognized in him principle, honesty and intelligence, and have intrusted [sic] him with important duties from time to time of a public nature. Mr. OKESON is regarded as an upright and honorable citizen.

In the year 1877, Mr. J. C. RICKETTS purchased a farm of forty-seven acres, from Mr. David WILSON. Mrs. RICKETTS is the daughter of William MCCLYMONDS.

John ROTH located in this township in 1878. His father is Lewis ROTH, of Prospect. Mr. ROTH read law with Judge MCCANDLESS, of Butler, and was admitted to practice in 1875. For two years he prosecuted his profession in Butler, and later went to Indiana, and was elected District Attorney in Jay County.


1840, George KIRKPATRICK; 1840, Robert CRAIG; 1842, David FISHER; 1843, Michael STINEDORF; 1847, David FISHER; 1848 William DEAN; 1851, Charles PHILLIPS; 1854, William H. THOMPSON; 1854 Thomas GARVEY; 1859, John MCCLYMONDS; 1859, Thomas GARVEY; 1864, Thomas GARVEY, Jr.; 1867, J. W. FORRESTER; 1871, Samuel HANNA; 1872, Thomas GARVEY, Jr.; 1878, Thomas GARVEY; 1882, James W. MCGEARY.


Portersville was laid out in 1828 by Robert STEWART, who is still living at the age of seventy four years. He was born in this township in 1808, September 15. The town was first called Stewartsville, but, when application was made for a post office, its name was changed by the department to Portersville in honor of Gov. PORTER. The first settler on the present site of the town of Portersville was Robert S. STEWART, who came in 1796. Thomas CHRISTY, brother-in-law of Mr. STEWART, came in shortly after, and a little later James STEWART and John, his brother, also settled. These, with Robert STEWART, Thomas BRANDON, Dr. COWDEN, James COWDEN and Robert CRAIG with their families, constituted the population in 1828. The first post office was established in the above year. John STEWART was the first Postmaster, and he held the office for the term of ten years. The original building is still standing. Robert CRAIG succeeded Mr. STEWART, holding the position for at least eight years. In 1838, the office was moved to a building just opposite the BRENNEMAN Hotel. In 1845, Portersville Village was incorporated a borough. The first election was held in a small frame building called the Town Hall. The first Justices of the Peace were James HALL and Robert STEWART. Mr. STEWART refused to accept his commission, but Mr. HALL served in the capacity for several terms in succession. The first Constable was William SHARP, and he continued to be elected without any interim for many years. The School Directors were Samuel BRENNEMAN, James WATSON, William OSBORNE, John CLEELAND, John W. RIDDLE and John W. STEWART. The present board are Dr. William WILSON, John NEIPER, Henry HEBERLING, William HUMPHREY, Caleb COVERT, Fred BERRY. The first merchant was Robert CRAIG, who established a general store in 1829, and pursued the mercantile business until his death which was in 1852. For may years, it is said, he did a very flourishing business. At the present there are six stores in operation -- two grocery, two dry goods, one millinery and one drug store. The grocery store in the center of the town is kept by Henry HEBERLING; one on the opposite side is kept by William WILLIAMS; two dry goods stores, one millinery store, kept by Maggie NEWTON. Mr. FRAZIER is the proprietor of the drug store. Besides these stores there are other industries -- a carriage and wagon shop, two harness shops, four [p.351] smith shops and a livery stable. There are also an Odd Fellows Lodge and three churches -- United Presbyterian, Presbyterian and Covenanter.


This church was organized October 13, 1820. The settlement at that time was entirely new and very sparse, and being made up mostly of seceders, the Presbyterian families were consequently few. There was preaching occasionally among them in private houses for something like six years before this time. The first preaching was in the cabinet shop of Mr. Thompson MCCOSH. This was in the year 1814 or 1815. The services were conducted by Rev. Reid BRACKEN. One of the hearers -- now a very aged man -- referring to this first service, said: "I do not remember much of his sermon now, but I have not forgotton [sic] how his son William, then but a boy, folded his hands in a peculiarly reverent manner, closed his eyes, and stood perfectly erect and still during the delivery of the prayer." At the organization the folowing persons were received on certificate: John and Sarah WALKER, Robert and Margaret STEWART, Samuel and Nancy STEWART, Ephraim and Martha HUNTER, Thompson and Nancy MCCOSH, and Elizabeth and Barbara STEWART, making twelve in all. John WALKER and Samuel STEWART were chosen Ruling Elders. Mr. STEWART continued to serve until 1829, when death ended his career. Mr. WALKER continued to serve until 1842 -- twenty-two years -- when he was gathered home to his Fathers. Other persons elected to the session were John STEWART, Thompson MCCOSH and Alexander MORRISON. Minutes of the session bears this testimony with reference to them: "Mr. MORRISON continued to meet with the session regularly until 1837, when it is probable his death occurred. It was sudden, and in the morning of his manhood, and it was much lamented by all." Messrs. STEWART and MCCOSH both ceased to act about the year 1845, on account of increasing infirmities, and both died soon after their retirement. Father BRACKEN, as he was called, continued to supply this congregation from 1820 to 1841. Rev. Newton BRACKEN, his son, was ordained and installed October 15, 1841. He ministered to this people until 1859. Rev. William P. HARVISON settled in 1863, and was dismissed in 1867, on account of failing health. Rev. Samuel L. JOHNSON succeeded him, and was ordained and installed in 1870. He remained until 1872, when Rev. R. B. WALKER succeeded him, and has served as stated supply since July, 1872. The present session of the church are James MORRISON, George OLIVER, John CHEESMAN, William HUMPHREY, Guyan MORRISON and Horatio PAYNE. The present membership of the church is 100. The Church edifice was probably erected in 1824. It was a frame structure and small in size. Ten years later it was remodled, [sic] receiving an addition of ten or twelve feet. It was replaced by a brick building in 1841. The present Trustees of the church are William HUMPHREY, Esq., Milton KENNEDY and Joseph MORRISON.


The United Presbyterian denomination came into existence in 1858. It was the result of a union of the Associate Reformed and Associate congregations. The first services were held in the same church building which the Associate Reformed congregation had used. The Sermon was preached by Rev. Andrew IRONS, of Michigan, who was installed regular pastor in 1859, and who ministered to this charge until the outbreak of the rebellion. Rev. John M. DONALDSON, a graduate of Jefferson College, succeeded to the pastorate, being ordained and installed in 1865. Mr. DONALDSON labored with great zeal and profit for five years, when he resigned his charge and removed to New Wilmington, where he assumed a charge, and where he labored until a short time before his death, which occurred in 1871. In 1873, Rev. William GALBRAITH accepted a call, and remained pastor of the congregation until 1876. Rev. James A. CLARK, the present pastor, succeeded Rev. GALBRAITH, accepting a call for one-half of his time in 1879.

The church building was erected in 1840 and 1841. It is a brick structure, forty-five feet front and fifty-five feet deep. It is well finished in the interior and its seating capacity is about 300; the numerical strength of the congregation is about 120; the original number was seventy-five. The first members of session were John COWDEN, Thomas CHRISTY, James MCCLYMONDS, James GARDNER, George FRAZIER, John MCCLELLAND. The Trustees were David CLEELAND, Jonathan MCCLYMONDS and James GARDNER. The present members of session are George MCGEE, James FRAZIER, Robert GLENN, John MCCLYMONDS and William B. DODDS. The present Trustees are Robert FRAZIER, Robert WALTERS, William MCCLYMONDS and Orrin STEWART. The cost of the church building was $3,000.


The united charges of Rose Point and Portersville are a part of Camp Run congregation, which was presided over by Dr. GUTHRIE about the year 1833. The first settled minister was Rev. Thomas HANNA, who was installed in 1858. He was of Scotch parentage, and received his education in Scotland. His pastorate lasted about four years when he became a United Presbyterian. He was succeeded by Rev. J. C. SMITH, the present pastor, who was ordained and installed in 1863. The first session of this con- [p.352] gregation was composed of Mr. Thomas SPEAR, John LOVE, Matthew STEWART, Thomas WILSON, Joseph KENNEDY and Thomas BLAIR. The Covenanters have no Trustees, the Eldership attending to the secular offices of the church; present Elders are Fullerton KENNEDY, Thomas YOUNG, Robert MCCASLIN, Robert WYLIE and James MCELWAIN. A Sabbath school numbering sixty-five pupils is connected with the church, the Superintendent for which is Dr. James M. BALPH.


This association was organized in May, 1875, with twenty charter members. There is at present forty-one members. The lodge held its first meeting in the hall above the BRENNEMAN Hotel, and its present meetings are held in a hall owned by the lodge in the southern part of the town; the building is fifty-five by twenty-two feet, and cost when finished about $1,100. The original officers of the lodge were -- Noble Grand, James PORTER; Vice Grand, Levi BEIGHLEY; Secretary, Caleb COVERT; Assistant Secretary, Fred BAUDER. From the organization to the present time, the officers have been: Past Grand, James PORTER, Levi BEIGHLEY, Fred BAUDER, Caleb COVERT, John SCHEIDEMANTLE, George NYE, N. W. KENNEDY, S. J. MUSSELMAN, C. W. PORTER, Thomas BOOK, S. T. OKESON, Samuel BAUDER, John BAUDER, James HUMPHREY. The present officers are -- John DUNBAR, N.G. [Noble Grand]; William BAUDER, V.G. [Vice Grand]; Caleb COVERT, Secretary; William YOUNG, Assistant. Representatives to Grand Lodge, P. G. [Past Grand] George NYE. The lodge is at present represented to be in a very flourishing condition.


Borough of Portersville. -- 1845, James HALL; 1845, John W. RIDDLE; 1847 Francis FINDLEY; 1850, James HALL; 1852, Jacob WIMER; 1855, William H. PATTERSON; 1859, William W. ROBERTS; 1860, Thomas H. WHITE; 1863, William HUMPHREY; 1865, W. W. ROBERTS; 1858 [sic], William HUMPHREY; 1868, William WILLIAMS; 1873, William HUMPHREY; 1873, William WILLIAMS; 1876, Samuel T. OKESON; 1878, William HUMPHREY.


The first school was in all probability held in an old log dwelling house which stood on the Johnson MCKNIGHT farm, now known as the MCDANNELS farm, in the winter of 1821. The teacher was Johnson MCKNIGHT. [sic] Even at that early day pupils were not ignorant of the custom which prevailed some years later, of "barring" the teacher out until he would promise to give them a "treat." This was attempted on Mr. JOHNSON about the close of his three months' term. Not the least bit nonplused, he quietly returned home and concluded to use stratagem to defeat their ends. He dressed himself up in his wife's best garments and repaired to the schoolroom. The door he found still closed. He rapped at the window very gently, and in a moment a dozen heads presented themselves. They, of course, were all surprised to see a lady standing without, and, no doubt, felt somewhat mortified that the door was found closed and barred against her. At all events, they hurriedly opened the door to admit the stranger. Mr. JOHNSON asked his pupils, in a feigned female voice, where their teacher was. They answered he was not in just then; whereupon he walked in and, throwing off his disguise, he called them to order. It is not necessary to say that they were somewhat surprised, and, no doubt, chagrined. John LEWIS succeeded Mr. JOHNSON the following year. Some of the early pupils were David and William CLEELAND, John and Isaac CLEELAND, John CHEESEMAN, William and George CHRISTY, John L. KNIGHT, Sarah KNIGHT, now Mrs. Sarah STEWART, Mary CLEELAND, now Mrs. LIMBER, Robert WALKER, Simon FLETCHER, Robert and Annie MCCOSH, R. J. WALKER, subsequently Rev. WALKER, John COLLINS and Andrew SPEAR, afterward Dr. SPEAR.

A few years later, another school was taught on the Thomas CHRISTY farm by George GREER. He was an old man, and is said to have been a good teacher for his time. He was kept two or three years in succession. About 1823, a log building was put up on the Dan KENNEDY farm, now owned by George MCGEE, and it was denominated Concord School. The teacher was Charles PHILIPS. Other early teachers were David FISHER, William BEIGHLEY and a Yankee named MARSHALL. These teachers taught at various times from the period when the first school was established or put into operation until the Legislature, in its wisdom and benevolence, established the public schools -- "the poor man's friend and the glory of the commonwealth."

We have already seen that before the present school law came into effect, schools in this township were few and not well distributed. The books used were few; the Bible as a text book in reading; for the higher classes the spelling book and arithmetic. Yet the teachers, generally, who taught these pioneer schools were gentlemen of liberal culture and executive ability, and the pupils made much progress. But the buildings were poor and the appliances very meager.

The common school system was accepted in the year 1836, but it was not passively established. The law was at first obnoxious and very generally denounced by a large class of people who then entertained some very absurd notions concerning "free schools." Through the powerful appeals, however, of those who had a deep insight into the true relations of things, the grand system which educates the children of the homeless and indigent, as well as the sons and daughters of the nabob and opulent, became firmly established and grew in strength and favor from that day to this.

In the same year that the public schools went into operation, eight school buildings were erected with larger conveniences than the primeval schools and in every respect more comfortable. Two houses were built in the western part of the township, and were know as the FRAZIER School and DOUBLE School. The WHIPPOIWILL, ALBERT, KIESTER, and WEBB in the southern portion, and the SNYDER school in the northern part of the township. The Directors of these schools were William FORESTER, who was also Treasurer; Johnston KNIGHT, Robert HAMPTON, Secretary; John WHITE, Joseph FORESTER and George A. KIRKPATRICK. The early common school teachers were John L. KNIGHT, Samuel ARMSTRONG, John SUPPLE, Robert WALKER, now Rev. R. B. WALKER, Joseph MCGOWAN, John STERRETT, John B. CAMPBELL, still living at a good old age, and Johnston KNIGHT. Since the redistricting of the township in 1854, there have been six schools in operation.


James MCCLYMONDS is a descendant of one of the early settlers. His grandfather, John MCCLYMONDS, was a Scotch-Irish emigrant to America who settled in Eastern Pennsylvania, and subsequently became one of the pioneers of Butler County, locating in what is now Brady Township. James MCCLYMONDS, son of John was born in 1788, and spent the greater portion of his life in this county. In 1810, he married Jane CORNELIUS (born in 1784), a daughter of Isaac CORNELIUS, one of the early settlers of this county. He resided in Allegheny County from about 1814 until 1831, and worked at farming. At the latter date he located in Muddy Creek Township, where his son James now resides. Beginning life poor, by indomitable energy and perseverance he gained a comfortable property. He was an estimable citizen and reared a family which is now prominent in this county. Mr. MCCLYMONDS died in 1852 and his wife in 1850. They had six sons and three daughters. Four sons and one daughter are still living. Mary M. is the widow of David CLELAND, and resides in Muddy Creek Township; Isaac died at the age of thirty-four years; John is a resident of Muddy Creek Township; James is the subject of this sketch; Elizabeth married Thomas BOYD, who was killed by a falling tree many years ago; she died in Law- rence County in 1882; Joseph died in 1833 in his fourteenth year; Sarah married John Newell GLENN, of Worth Township, she died in 1854; Samuel is now clerk in the County Commis- sioner's office in Butler; William Wilson resides on part of the old homestead.

James, the third son of James and Jane MCCLYMONDS, was born in Allegheny County, December 4, 1816, and came to this county with his parents at the age of fifteen. He was reared a farmer and has always followed that occupation successfully. He received a common-school education in the tuition schools of pioneer days, under the discipline of strict masters, sitting on slabs in a log house which had paper windows and none of the modern conveniences.

Mr. MCCLYMONDS has often been urged to accept office but has never done so. He was a Whig and is now a Republican. He was a strong anti-slavery man. He is a friend to religion, edu- cation, temperance, and every good work. He was brought up in the Associate Presbyterain faith, and in 1858 connected him- self with the United Presbyterain denomination. He has reared a large family, and given them the best of training and educa- tional opportunities.

Mr. MCCLYMONDS was married in 1843 to Lydia VANCE, who still shares his home and is a true and faithful wife and mother. Her father, James VANCE, was one of the early settlers on the Slippery Rock, in Beaver County. He was twice married first to Martha WALKER, and second to Annah HARRIS, who was the mother of Mrs. MCCLYMONDS. Six children were born of each marriage and three of each group are still living. James VANCE died in 1842 in his sixty-sixth year, and Annah VANCE in 1850, in the sixty-second year of her age. He was a native of Ireland and she of Chester County.

Mr. and Mrs. MCCLYMONDS are the parents of ten children living: Maria J. (GLENN), residing in Portersville; James Vance, on part of the homestead farm; Isaac Milton, Professor in the Model School, Edinburgh, Erie Co., Penn.; John W., principal of a school at San Leandro, Cal.; Dr. Samuel E., a practicing physician at Portersville; Willis J., in the West; Horace S., who will graduate from the Medical Department of the University of the City of New York in the spring of 1883; Ira D., at home on the farm; Maggie (WALTERS), residing near Butler, and Addison C., at home.


[1] The eastern third of Franklin Twp was included in Center and Butler Townships from 1804 until 1854. Franklin Township was created from Muddy Creek prior to 1850, since it appears in the 1850 census.

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Chapter 36--Centre Township
Chapter 38--Worth Township
1883 Butler County History Contents
Butler County Pennsylvania USGenWeb Homepage

Edited 30 Nov 1999, 15:56